You have a unique concept for a new private label pet food product. But do you understand what nutrients are essential to your formula? For mass market retailers looking to enter the pet food game, it’s important to brush up on pet food science and nutrition facts so you can create the right pet food formula—and make sure your product stands out on the shelf. A pet food formula is the precise mix of ingredients that go into your final pet food product. Formulas need to be carefully crafted to deliver essential nutrients, quality and palatability that meet the needs of your customers and, of course, their pets. Whether you go value, mainstream, premium or super premium, the marketplace tier you decide to target is an important decision that will impact what ingredients you include in your formula. You may already have an idea of what type of ingredient you want to include, but there are other, lesser known ingredients and nutrition considerations that have to go into your formula. That’s why it’s important to work with veterinary scientists, experts in pet food nutrition and a pet food manufacturer that provides house or custom formulas based on your vision. But it’s still crucial to be aware of the basic building blocks of a formula so you can deliver a unique, well-rounded and hearty pet food brand to the marketplace.Plus, you’re required to list ingredients on the pet food bag, so understanding the essentials will help you when it’s time to write the label.
Ingredient types fall into two categories: major and minor. The major ingredients are typically the first few listed on a label, which are recognizable animal or plant names that provide proteins, carbohydrates and other important nutrients.Minor ingredients are the ones that follow, which provide the minerals, vitamins and other nutrients that may not be as recognizable.Major ingredients are not more important than minor ingredients, but you are more likely to know what type of major ingredient you want in your pet food. For example, you might choose an exotic protein like lamb as your leading ingredient differentiator. But what other ingredients need to go with that lamb to create a complete and balanced pet food?The minors are just as important, if not more, to get right in your pet food formula. This is because the wrong proportion of vitamins and minerals can become toxic to pets. Another reason why working with an expert in pet food nutrition is a must.